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End Clothing eyes new outfit with £700m sale plan

Written by on 26/11/2020

The founders of a contemporary fashion retailer launched just 15 years ago with a £40,000 investment are in talks about a stake sale that could catapult them into the ranks of Britain’s super-rich.

Sky News has learnt that Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, who launched End Clothing in 2005 after graduating from Newcastle University, have asked bankers at Goldman Sachs to find a new investor for their business.

City sources said the duo were in discussions with private equity firms including Cinven and General Atlantic Partners about a deal.

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The sources added that Goldman was seeking a valuation of about £700m, which would make it one of the year’s biggest retail deals during a period of crisis for the wider industry.

The sale of a big stake in the company would trigger a big payday for End’s two co-founders, both of whom own large minority stakes in the company.

It would also crystallise a windfall for Index Ventures, which acquired a shareholding in 2014.

End launched as a menswear store in Newcastle, before launching the e-commerce business which became the engine of the company’s growth in 2006.

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The company sells luxury brands including Givenchy, Gucci and Valentino.

Accounts filed at Companies House for the year to March 31 show it recorded a 26.6% in sales to £170.5m.

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Pre-tax profit rose by 17% to nearly £32m, and its performance is likely to have improved further this year amid the accelerating shift to online retailing.

End, which now also trades from a store in London’s Soho, said it now had roughly 3.6 million active customers and partnerships with 500 brands.

General Atlantic’s involvement in the Goldman-run process is notable because of its purchase earlier this year of a substantial stake in Gymshark, the athleisure brand.

Other bidders are also said to be involved in the situation.

It was unclear on Thursday whether the current shareholders were looking to sell a controlling stake in End.

End Clothing did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

 Sky News

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